Jim Thome hasn’t played since Friday due to recurring neck spasms and now he’s being sent back to Baltimore in order to undergo an MRI.
Thome tried to hit earlier this afternoon, but his neck didn’t respond as hoped. While the veteran slugger has dealt with neck issues in the past, he told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com that his current discomfort is “a little bit more than what I’ve normally dealt with.” That doesn’t sound very promising, but the MRI should provide greater clarity on the situation.
Thome, 41, is batting .261/.354/.391 with two homers, six RBI and a .746 OPS in 79 plate appearances since being acquired from the Phillies last last month. The future Hall of Famer has slugged seven home runs overall this season and currently sits in seventh place on the all-time list with 611 home runs.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.